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Bresnahan Trifecta of Intolerance

2015/10/05 in Ableism, Absurd, Ageism, Bresnahan, City Council, Elections, Facebook, H.U.S.H., Holyoke, Sexism

I am the cartoon character of an asshole.

Last year about this time I ran into Dan Bresnahan at a bar… well, to be more specific, I was seen at a bar and someone summoned him to me – probably via txt message.  I knew he arrived when I felt someone actually leaning upon me. I looked to my left and there he was, actually fully invading my space with his body and nearly pushing me off my seat.  With his face about four inches from mine and breathing his sour breath he accused me of being “obsessed with him” and he actually threatened me with violence.  After I told him “no. not just you, I will go after any person that does not represent me or the best interests of the community – you are a problem, you are not very smart and you do absolutely nothing positive in your role as councilor” he then asked me “do you want to take this outside?”  I was in awe.  I knew that this man-child had zero filter and that he thought that he could do no wrong, but here he was, an elected official actually challenging a constituent to a fight.  I said “did you just challenge me to a fight?” he said “Yup”. I said “You are absurd” and walked out of the place.  I know, it sounds unbelievable, but this is Breezy D and that really did happen.

How do I know that he is the man that he is?  Well, first through observation of his grandstanding nonsense that he spews ad nauseam when given the opportunity to speak in council – as well, how he votes and obviously via behavior like described above.   I have also known this guy since he was nineteen years old.  I recognized him as a miscreant back then.  As a public servant he’s been involved in some seriously messed up situations that prove that he’s not fit for leadership.  Two situations revealed to me just very recently.  Of course we all remember the time in October 2013 when he professed for all to hear that his fellow city councilor became pregnant and then failed to sexually stimulate him like most pregnant women do.  Prior to Breezy’s tenure as a member of city council he was Director of the Holyoke Board of Health (zero qualifications, and forced to resign).  I have leaned that there are two different circumstances where there was a lawsuit and a union grievance over his discriminating against people based on age.  I have filed an FOIA request for info related to these cases, at least one was a monetary suit and the person was given a job where Breezy would not be their superior.  I was going to wait for all the details to even begin to mention this case but I write about this now to put in context with this post that has been going viral on Facebook today:

Someone let this guy be in charge of children? What were they thinking?

That’s right…  sexism creating an unsafe environment for women in the employ of the municipal, ageism resulting in discrimination lawsuits and now ableism with his failing to allow a child with autism to participate in a pee-wee soccer league where all kids should be given a chance.  If you cannot read that mother’s lament and not feel utterly heartbroken for that child or not asking “what kind of monster is this guy?” then there’s something wrong with you too.

On the bright side, one of the shares of this story on social media had tagged the Holyoke Youth Soccer League.  They responded:

 

Well, that is a relief.  It is my hope that this will be Breezy’s October Surprise that will wake folks up to what a douchebag he is – there are a lot of people running that I would rather see take his seat.  But at the very least we can hope that he will be removed from all opportunities where he could abuse children.

 

 

 

No Comment

2015/08/12 in Absurd, Elections, FrannyO, Mayor, Sexism, Whistleblower

Poor choice in campaign slogan.

In the continuing saga of misogyny in Holyoke we now have two media outlets providing coverage.

Angela told her story on WHYN 560 AM Morning Show with Adam Wright.  You can listen HERE.

An article was launched on Masslive today (in print tomorrow) that has a response from the O’Connell campaign via Media Mentors (A marketing company that has an obnoxious flash video with loud music that is on auto-play on their front page – this actually makes sense).  He says:

“These accusations come from a disgruntled former paid staffer who was terminated to which I have no comment. Anyone who knows me knows I have the utmost respect for women. I am a father of three daughters and husband to a beautiful wife. The chief operating officer of my company is a woman who I have worked with for the past eight years. I have a wonderful working relationship with her and hundreds of other women with whom I have been privileged to work with over my 30-plus year career.”

See?  She was fired, so it must not be true.  I knew that this would be in the response.  Next he names a few women in his life, so this must characterize him differently.  This is akin to when people say “I am not racist, I have a black friend”.  Whatever.  It is essentially a “no comment” statement neither confirming or denying what Angela did experience.

Of course comments on the Masslive article and where shared on social media have people not focusing on the issue and instead discussing the faults of the other candidates.  Pay attention:  Fran wants to outsource his job and sell the city to his friends.  Are we electing Fran?  No, we are electing whoever he appoints to be mayor.  Fran is running to be city planner and pass the buck to a city manager type.  He will take an oath office that he will fail to fulfill which will both violate state law and the city charter.

This all reminds me of our former puppet president Bush, except Bush had some professional handlers to better mask how unfit he was to lead.  If O’Connell’s handlers are smart they will now hire better handlers to manage this from now on.  This campaign needs adult supervision.  You can kiss babies, shake hands and maybe play your guitar, but for god’s sake, keep your mouth shut!

Oh, and tits.

Cue Regina Spektor:

A New Direction

2015/08/07 in Bordas, Bresnahan, Elections, Franco, FrannyO, Holyoke, Mailbag, Mayor, Sexism

This is why we need feminism.

It is campaign season in Holyoke and as candidates open their mouths it becomes very apparent that one cannot swing a dead cat in this city without hitting a misogynist.

Hot on the heels of the long overdue sensitivity training that was scheduled in response to the notorious hot mics incident that exposed two seated councilors as a threat to their female counterparts we have Mike Franco stepping up to the plate with his accusation of the training being “forced and potentially iron-fisted indoctrination”, then calling “blasphemy” on Councilor Jossie Valentin’s use of the War Memorial building to host The Vagina Monologues. Is Franco is completely oblivious to the fact that some veterans do have vaginas or that there is rampant sexual abuse in the military that administration seems unwilling to address? It appears so. Has Franco actually seen a vagina in real life since becoming a “Men’s Rights Activist” a decade ago? My sources say no. Continuing in theme, now comes Kurt Bordas (a make-believe cop running against incumbent Jossie Valentin). Bordas sees this as an opportunity to make a complete fool of himself with his statement: “All I have to say in regards to this is we are looking past this and focusing on the well-being of the citizens of Ward 4 and discussing quality of life issues that we are faced with daily.” Yes, time to move past this, as sexual harassment has nothing to do with quality of life and it certainly would not be an issue of interest to anybody in Ward 4. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Oh, of course he supports Franco here as Bordas is also a woman-hater. Then both Franco and Bordas bring the concept of “free speech” into the conversation. This is very odd because both of these men are veterans so they must have sworn an oath to uphold the constitution at some point.  1A states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…” Nowhere in this drama has anyone’s free speech been infringed and nowhere in 1A does it say you should not be held accountable for your words.  It is Mark Twain that once said: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” This is very good advice to the receiver, but it is my wish that people continue to ignore it only because it arms the rest of us sensible folks with the ability to know exactly who we should not be wasting our time on.

This certainly is not unique to Holyoke; these stories continue to be part of the Zeitgeist here in the USA: Rape culture, Gamergate, Bill Cosby, domestic violence in the NFL, male coaches as predators in women’s athletics, Columbia University mattress protest, women’s health issues being decided by male lawmakers or by corporations like Hobby Lobby instead of being made between the patient and a doctor, etc. The statistics for rape, domestic violence and sexual harassment are known to be vastly understated. One reason derives from the tradition of saying “boys will be boys,” as an excuse for inappropriate behavior by males. Young girls have been taught to keep silent and to overlook bad behavior by boys. Another is that victims frequently have the blame shifted onto them. Also it is often that the perpetrator is someone close to the victim so somewhere in there is a fear of hurting someone else, possibly the perpetrator himself – or – it is kids, friends or relatives to where the fear is spread. Of course, there is potential of retribution in many cases.  Then, when history proves that there is often zero results with the reported cases; what is the reason to come forward if it is the belief that nothing positive could come of it anyhow?  That said, it is extremely important for victims to stand up and be heard no matter the obstacles and it can take an incredible amount of bravery in order to do so – which brings us to this letter we received.

Angela Gerhard writes:

The “New Direction” for Holyoke?

My second day on the job for the O’Connell campaign had me at my first campaign meeting, where I met the marketing group, some volunteers and staff, and got insight into what the campaign was going to need from me for the job they hired me to do. Afterwards I went to dinner with Fran and two of his advisors at Max’s Tavern in Springfield in order to catch me up to speed. It gave me a chance to learn what the campaign plans and goals were, and gave me the some more of the much-desired background info I wanted into who Fran really is and what his run for mayor is all about.

It was a long but insightful evening. It was casual and a great way for me to meet “the guys”. His advisors are close friends of his he’s known for years, businessmen who Fran admires and trusts. The three of them all had a drink or two, I drank soda water. We talked about the current state of affairs in the city and we all contributed our thoughts and ideas as to what changes we’d like to see. We debated campaign strategy and talked about positioning, and whether or not it was ok to say one thing to get into office and then “pivot” once we got there, as one advisor suggested matter-of-factly. We discussed schools and we talked about the department of Economic Planning and Development. Quite a bit.

It was made clear that Fran’s goal is to more or less unofficially act as the Director of Planning if he reaches office. I’d heard him in earlier private conversations talk about wanting to have a highly-paid and qualified “right hand” that would take on much of what the day-to-day Mayoral duties would be. His idea is to give a part of his salary that person, because he “doesn’t need the money,” and this would free him up while someone else handles the day-to-day “minutiae” of running the city as he drums up business as the front man for Planning and Development.

As talk of specific employees in the department comes up here and there Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, a development specialist in the department, was mentioned. One of the two advisors asked who she was. Fran’s animated response:

“That Tessa, smart girl, but I can never hear half of what she’s saying because I can’t stop looking at her big tits!”

I was horrified. The guys chuckled. My reflexive response was of embarrassment, and as I put my head down, looking at my lap because I didn’t know what to say, I found myself angry that I felt that way. I consider myself a fairly outspoken person, and I think many would agree that’s a fair assessment. And here I was in the corner booth, wedged in between one man and another, unable to get up and exit the conversation and go home because we had all rode in one car down from West Springfield. I kept thinking “he doesn’t know me well enough to be saying things like that in front of me.” And we’re talking about a political campaign here, a future mayor…where was the professionalism?! It was baffling. We all know the frat-boy mentality exists and flourishes and boy’s clubs die hard, but we expect it to be hidden from view when we’re not a member of the club.

I’ve known Tessa as an acquaintance. I like her. I know she loves her job and works hard and takes pride in it. I have only heard great things about her work there, and what a benefit to the department she is. Her having to work with a man that demeans her in this way is in no circumstance remotely acceptable. Are we a city that will elect this into office? If this were any other circumstance, would a man who said this of a future employee ever be given the job? No, if only because he’d be a liability. The other day I finally reached out to Tessa about this, to let her know and ask if it were ok if I identify her when I speak out on this. I was and am sickened and saddened to know that this for her isn’t by any means an isolated incident, and that she’s been subject to continuous sexual harassment throughout her professional career. She feels defeated knowing that she’s worked so hard to establish herself in her new position over the past year, only to learn that her potential boss won’t be able to take her seriously because he can’t see beyond her anatomy.

Later on during dinner I caught a little something that Fran was saying to one of the guys while the other one is talking to me. A little of a “got her for the campaign // she’s a hell of a lot better to look at than this one,” referring to me and the other guy I was speaking with. I felt uncomfortable with the eyes on me from across the table, with the slow nodding in agreement. I wished I had caught more, but it wasn’t meant for me to hear. More disappointment and disgust.

 After more time passed during the night, I inevitably said something to the effect of “You do know that you can’t say things like that, right? It’s really f*ed up, you just can’t do it.” My comment was was met with silence from the rest.

I was filled with conflict over working for someone who is immature, sexist, impulsive, and juvenile. It was my second day on the job. Out to dinner, I was already “one of the guys” and Fran felt free to be himself, crude “sense of humor” and all. Fran O’Connell, who has a good shot at winning this campaign, will essentially be the boss of the young woman he made that awful remark about. He’ll be in a position of power over many women who, you know, have tits. With all of the controversy that this city has had to endure, is this the “New Direction” we want to work towards?

I’ll be honest and admit I’m deeply ashamed that I spent time trying to rationalize it all and convince myself that in some alternate universe this type of behavior would be dismissible. I hoped that it was isolated remark, but I have since learned from several others’ accounts that this isn’t the case. I tried to chalk it up to a crass sense of humor. I struggled with it, a lot. I was someone who actively campaigned against a city councilor who made sexist remarks about another councilor and sought to have him removed from council. As time passed I started to pair up that experience I had with Fran and his “guys” with stories people told me of their own experience of him being offensive, inappropriate, hostile, and making them feel uncomfortable, and clear pattern started to emerge. When I read a quote from an acquaintance to the advisor I worked with that described Fran as “arrogant and undiplomatic….kind of like dealing with high school mentality,” he laughed it off and said it sounded pretty accurate and that he could be all of those things at times.

So I made a conscious decision to stick with the job, for various reasons. Part of which is that I compulsively research and gather information. I can’t help it. And research, in the end, was what the campaign wanted me to do. Being on the inside, working closely with one of his advisors, I would get one of the best views possible into what we were dealing with here. It didn’t take long to see that the work I brought to the campaign was going to be routinely dismissed and that any damage I could be doing by playing a supporting role was not much to worry about. Was I dismissed because I was a woman? I don’t know. Did they keep me on-board because as I was told more than once that I was “too dangerous” to let go? I did the work requested. My stint with the campaign was brief, and I was recently let go anyhow, being told that “policy and research work will be moving to a professional organization.” I figured I had 4-6 weeks left max, and I wasn’t terribly surprised, because I found myself butting heads with the advisor I was working with and continually frustrated with the lack of input from Fran and his unwillingness to heed advice in terms of introducing his platform. And no, I’m not bitter and resentful for being let go. No, I wasn’t working for the “competition” as a mole. If anything I feel some relief knowing I’m free of all of it, even if I am out of the much needed extra income.

Maybe Fran hasn’t displayed this sort of thing in the businesses he’s owned over the years. I honestly can’t say. But I do know that his marketing team will no doubt put together a well thought-out response to this, if they address it at all. All I can do is encourage the people who are private to share their experiences in a way they’re comfortable with to every Holyoke voter they know, and for people who can muster the courage, including other city employees, to call this type of behavior when they see it, and to do so publicly. It’s beyond difficult to do this because I know there will be backlash directed at me, that there will be collateral damage and relationships I value lost, but I’m really not good at sitting silent when there’s this much at stake.

So there you have it.

======================================================================

I have three daughters that I don’t want to grow up in a world where they should only be seen and not heard.  Not putting people in power that treat women like this would be the new direction for us.

Since I first learned of Angela’s story a week ago it has been discussed among a few people and more stories have come to light.  I do hope that these folks will come forward on record.

Check Out This Douchebag.

2015/07/25 in Bresnahan, City Council, Elections, Franco, Masslive, McGee, pronography, pronosound, Sexism, Shame

I WAS NOT BREASTFED

In case you do not know this knuckle-dragger’s story, when he’s not being arrested for missing jury duty Mike Franco has been a serial candidate and serial loser in almost every election for the past decade or so running for a number of posts from Governor’s Council, State Senate, State Representative, Animal Control Officer – and now he’s running for At-Large City Council in Holyoke.  Nobody is really certain where he lives because he’s run from East Longmeadow, Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke.  Franco is an MRA, Donald Trump fan, Conspiracy Theorist, Tea Party Extremist and an adult man that cannot grow a decent mustache.  As you’d expect his platform is something like : everyone that does not work is lazy, feminism is worse than Nazism, Obama the “socialist” is building reeducation camps and everyone that does not agree with Mike Franco should move to France.  That’s him in a nutshell (pun intended).

Many may remember that wonderful hot mic indecent back in October of 2013 where misogynists Todd Murphy McGee and Daniel Breezy-D Bresnahan let the world know what kind of assholes they are when they spoke the truth at a time that they thought nobody could hear.  It was comedy, but it was also very disturbing…  My recording of this event was picked up by local and regional news, some popular feminist and some political blogs.  It really shamed these two man-children as they deserved but it also exposed what is most certainly a hostile work environment inside those council chambers.  Now, almost two years later and as promised a much needed training was scheduled for all on City Council to attend.

So, here is Franco’s first salvo at who he’s deemed to be a political opponent.  As a result of the the training that Franco calls “forced and potentially iron-fisted indoctrination training” and councilor Jossie Valentin’s suggestion that the session be open to the public he lashes out at her:

Classy, Franco...

What a fucking jerk, huh?  He’d certainly fit in with those other two morons in council… that is if he could ever win.  I can only assume that he’s just comic relief in this election…  not very good at it, but he tries his best.

You can read his entire post HERE on Franco’s meetup.com 2014 State Senate campaign page.  In the event that he removes this post I have archived it HERE at archive.org and HERE as a screen capture.

 

 

 

Dan Bresnahan: The Most Interesting Man-Child in Holyoke

2013/10/04 in Bresnahan, Elections, H.U.S.H., McGee, pronography, Sexism, Shame

man-child

The most interesting man-child in Holyoke.

Please play the theme music while admiring this image:

Misogyny and Loathing in Holyoke

2013/10/02 in Absurd, Audio, Boob Tube, Bresnahan, Council, H.U.S.H., Holyoke, McGee, Sexism, Shame

douchenozzles

Breezy-D and Mr McGee - Holyoke's version of Beevis and Butthead

The microphones were on before the City Council meeting began and those of us with cable TV (or DVR) were able to witness a very interesting conversation between Dan Bresnahan and Todd McGee where they made mockery of their post; used profanity; engaged in misogynistic dialog; talked disparagingly of their colleagues; made jokes about their wives and insulted some community members – all of which could be heard in the comfort of your own home via Holyoke’s public access channel 15.  Priceless.  It really goes to show what little intelligence and integrity it takes to qualify as leadership in Holyoke.  So, here it is, posted as audio and transcript:

The audio began mid conversation.  They are talking about the agenda.  Presumably, at start, they are talking about item 24.  ”Petition for a Zone Change for Whiting Farms Rd. from BG to IP”  which brought a number of residents into council chambers for public comment and in support of this item.

McGee: …unless it was for Dan, if Dan wanted to change things.

Brezzy: I wanna put a Walmart there…  (McGee laughs) and a casino.

McGee: Roll the dice baby.

Breezy: …and a strip club.

McGee: [fumbling with papers] Yay! The Directory!

Breezy: A city-wide bicycle master plan?  I like Aaron.  (the Breezy makes an aside) If you smell garlic it is me, there is no doubt about it…  I am just telling you right now.  (back on topic)  A city-wide bicycle master fucking plan? Oh my god.  What’s going on?

(Rebecca Lisi walks into view, she’s 9-months into pregnancy with a due date of TODAY yet she’s still hard at work)

Breezy: That’s gotta be uncomfortable.  The way she’s carrying…

McGee: She’s due today!  Today’s her due date.

Breezy: I still don’t see that glow in her face… unlike most of the pregnant women I am attracted to.  She’s just not doing it for me.  But YOUR wife on the other hand – whoa ho, oh boy…  when she was pregnant!

McGee: I’m not gonna lie to you.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Anyone want a Twizzler?

Brezzy: [unintelligible, presumably speaking to agenda] What’s going on?

McGee: That’s going to committee too.

Breezy: Did I get the wrong agenda? [Is Dan only reading the agenda now, not reviewing it prior to the meeting?]

McGee: Nah, that’s going to committee.  Speaking of which, I better get…  [unintelligible, gets up from his seat]

(not sure who does a mic check, sounds like Gordon Alexander TAP TAP TAP – blows into mic “hey Ryan” TAP “it is not on yet”)

Breezy:  Bickford?

McGee: Yeah.

Breezy: I saw him.

McGee: Look at him.  Ah… Man.  How did MassMutual hire that? What the fuck were they thinking?

Breezy: Just keep an eye on him when we do the Pledge of Allegiance.  He doesn’t fucking…  he sits down. (McGee laughs) I am telling you, he’s a fucking communist.

[audio was shut off with video feed continuing]

Good job boys.  Well done.  Way to make complete fools out of yourselves.  …and oh, FYI: Mr Bickford was hired because he is much smarter and more professional than you two, obviously.

In regards to not saying the pledge as qualification of ‘communist’ – Requiring people to say a prayer to an object is more akin to authoritarianism than is the reluctance or protest to the participating in it. What an idiot.

Download audio here.

 

Meanwhile, in Holyoke…

2012/07/06 in Absurd, Fire, HFD, Holyoke, Sexism, Shame

Holyoke has had its ups and downs.  Now it hits a new all-time low.
Here city property is used to objectify women:

 

(HFD as photo-shoot location for a “sports fitness” magazine)

Who is the knuckle-dragging moran moron who thought that this was a good idea?  Seriously, is the HFD a group of professionals or not?  Beyond the fact that misogyny as portrayed here is simply absurd in our culture and this day in age; it is really sad to see this kind of bullshit going on to tarnish this organization and our city.  VERY BAD MOVE.  Shame on you.  This is private use of public space, which is a definite violation.  Regardless if one might think objectification of women is some sort of politically correct sensibility this is not proper behavior at a fire station as we hold such public servants to a standard of morality that this violates. HFD is supposed to be institution of integrity and a symbol of responsibility.   I say good riddance to whoever allowed this to happen.

To the rest of HFD that did not take part in this, thanks for your service.

Tim Moran is now gone as a result of all this and over at the Masslive forums & article comments the poo-flingers are saying that this was “political” because of the Pluta-Moran connection and, get this, because the mayor would have been fine with it had it been homoerotic beefcake instead of bikini-clad girls.

Sometimes I wish that that there was some sort of leviathan living in the canals that we could feed all these idiots to.

..and, meanwhile, at the HPD photo-shoot: